A lot of IT managers and veteran tech people read eWEEK, so they should find this management story valuable.
If you’re a team leader or a business owner, the responsibility of managing people goes much beyond just getting to checking items off their list. You must make sure that not only are your employees completing tasks in a timely manner, but also that they are exhibiting their most productive self.
However, following a specific routine can be mundane at times and can be easily credited as one of the biggest productivity drains--lack of resources, insufficient incentives and an overall lack of a cheerful environment are other culprits.
So, how do you produce the best level of work at the office day after day while ensuring there’s no productivity drain? There’s only so many hours in a day, right? In this eWEEK Data Points article, we offer seven factors that drill a hole in your team’s productivity and solutions to overcome such challenges.
Data Point No. 1: Work with timing, due dates and deadlines
By time-tracking your tasks, you commit yourself to complete the task within the stipulated timing. If you’re setting out to begin a task without estimating how long you should take to complete it, you may actually end up spending more hours than required. In fact, as much as 96% of professionals say employees make mistakes when it comes to time-tracking.
Here’s a simple hack: List all of your tasks for the day/week/month and assign due dates. You will notice it helps accelerate the process of getting those tasks done. There are plenty of to-do apps available in the market. And make use of the ones that will help you collaborate best with your team.
Data Point No. 2: Communicate feedback, as well as progress, to your teams
Is your team doing great? Let them know. Underappreciated employees tend to be less motivated which has a magnified impact on the whole team’s productivity. It’s important to engage in conversations with your team that make them feel their contributions are valuable. Setting short-term goals with detailed action steps and divided responsibilities make for great managerial skills. Employees who receive constructive feedback from their managers can go a long way in shaping business in the right direction. If numbers are anything to go by, 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week.
Data Point No. 3: Minimize distractions by using apps to cover for distractions caused by technology
We’re living in the times of app/tech overdose where people are carrying multiple devices with numerous apps and an endless stream of notifications. Once you’re at work, reading and replying to emails monopolize a majority of the day, and often the rest of is taken over by these apps and notifications. Are we really using the technology responsibly? To move past the technology hangover, replace it with methods that help us get more done with less fatigue. Economic Unit reports imply that employees who believe their workplace effectively uses mobile tech are more creative, satisfied, and productive at work. The right communication and collaboration tools help to significantly cut down on notification clutter. Employees’ recent chats, files shared, and favorite conversation hacks can be found in just one place. Moreover, these tools even let you bring your most favorite apps and integrate them all to one simple platform.
Data Point No. 4: Avoid multitasking to reduce context shifting
Many times we feel that we had a busy day yet did not get much work done. If you take a deeper look at it, it’s because we simultaneously pick up so many tasks at once that not one of them gets the attention it deserves. Multitasking can turn out to be counterproductive and a lot of context gets lost in the process too. Once a certain task is chosen, employees shouldn’t switch to a different task until it’s completed, even if it means spending more time than you had initially anticipated. If your distractions--a buzzing phone or a pinging messenger--are getting in the way, employees should switch them off and put them away.
Data Point No. 5: Gamify the workplace
It’s easy to lose motivation when you’re following a similar kind of routine day after day. One way to ensure enthusiastic participation from your team members is to motivate them by gamifying regular, mundane jobs. Every day jobs, such as filing reports and sharing input, can be gamified with badges, rewards and recognition. Another way to drive motivation among your employees is to incentivize them to reach their goals faster.
Data Point No. 6: Get past the trap of the ‘presence paradox’
Many offices work with employees that do not necessarily sit with the rest of the team, such as freelancers, consultants, interns and remote employees. It becomes a larger responsibility to keep such employees motivated since they’re physically away from the team. Thus, organizations must take adequate measures to make sure employees working remotely don’t lose out on any team spirit. Don’t shy away from hopping onto regular audio and video calls to discuss work.
Data Point No. 7: Take timeouts from work
Not even the hardest-working individuals can perform their best without pausing to take some refreshing breaks. Although it sounds almost like a paradox, science backs up the theory. Research suggests that taking short breaks during long tasks helps you to maintain a constant level of performance, while working at a task without breaks leads to a steady decline in performance. A scheduled break while you’re at your most consuming tasks can actually make you more productive when you return to it.
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